reaching perfection

Do you have goals for yourself? So often our lives are shaped by those large and small achievements that we work towards. Perhaps you are building something. Perhaps you are training or practicing something in order to become proficient. Perhaps you’re doing the hard work of healing a broken relationship. Perhaps you are at a place where the old goals don’t seem so important, and it’s time to think up some new ones.

The question “What do I want to be?” always lingers.  Whether you are age 10, 25, 45 or 90, do you sometimes ask yourself what you want to be when you grow up?

Perhaps we can hope for more than any of this for ourselves, regardless of our age or circumstances. In 1 John 2 we read a description of one “in whom the love of God has reached perfection.”

There is something beautiful in this, and it is equally liberating and challenging. Notice that if this is what I want for myself, I don’t have to be perfect. I simply have to be a vessel or a conduit for the perfect love of God.

Simple. Well, not so simple of course. Reading the passage through, we see that it means ditching hate and anger, and living our lives according to the commandments. Perhaps you’ve noticed that this takes years of prayer, practice, and support. It takes a lot of self sacrifice: the ego won’t fare well in this. But if this is our trajectory, imagine how our lives will change.

I can hardly think of a more grace-filled goal for myself or for any one of us: to become one in whom the love of God might reach perfection.

Other “goals” may be important because they also make us who we are. But if becoming vessels for the sacred is the big one, the core desire that gives meaning to everything we do, then the other goals will themselves become channels for grace.

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About bernardowens

I'm an Episcopal priest in Greensboro, North Carolina.
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